Resume writing tips and myths
A resume is one of the most important job-search tools you can have, helping you get your name and experience in front of people who make the decision to hire you. A bad resume can slam the door in your face, leaving you to wonder why you’re not getting any response.
Even if you have all the education and experience an employer could want, a poorly organized and written resume can lead to your future ending up in the do-not-contact pile.
These tips will help you develop a resume that stands out from the crowd.
1. Grab the reader
Experts say a reader makes a decision about a resume in 20 seconds or less. People take more time to order coffee than that. Your resume has to break through the clutter and sell a product: you. A resume is essentially a selling tool, an advertisement or brochure for you and what you can offer a company. Focus on what you bring to the organization, your specific accomplishments and capabilities that will benefit your new company. These days, employers care more about what you can do than what your title was.
2. Use the right format
For years, standard resumes were written in the chronological format, with the most recent job on top. That’s changing. Employers care more about what you can do for them in the future than what you did in the past. A functional or skills-based format outlines your capabilities with less emphasis on your history. This style usually starts with a career objective or skills summary. Then list skills you have, with supporting examples from your career. If you have 10 years or more experience, a two-page resume is fine, and some people will even go to three pages. But keep it as brief as possible.
3. Tailor it
Take the time to customize your resume for each job. It seems like a lot of work, and it is, but it shows that you understand the job and the company. Use words that appear in the position advertisement to make the connection with your skills and background. This preparation will also be useful for the interview.
4. Use a skills summary
Start with a paragraph outlining your skills. This is different than the old-style career objective. In four to six sentences present an overview of your accomplishments, talents and skills. Fresh out of school or out of the workforce awhile? Everything can be turned into a set of skills. Babysitting is customer service. Volunteering at a summer camp shows you can handle responsibility. Using e-mail and surfing the Web demonstrates basic computer skills.
5. Use key